I am about 7 months removed from reconstruction and swelling!

I am about 7 months removed from my reconstruction following a prophylactic mastectomy. I am your perfectly healthy 25 year old whose recovery was nothing but normal. One day I realized my right breast was larger (swollen) than normal and was irritated. Not the skin but under the tissue. Its gotten uncomfortable enough that it wakes me up at night, I can no longer sleep on my belly (I was able to a few months after). What is going on? My surgeon said my implant is intact and not impacted.

Doctor Answers 3

New onset swelling after breast reconstruction

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Hello and thanks for posting your question.Based on your description, you should be evaluated by your surgeon in person. New onset swelling many months after complete recovery after implant based reconstruction is worrisome for complications such as seroma, hematoma, delayed infection, etc. 

Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

I am about 7 months removed from reconstruction and swelling!

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Thank you for your question. Without a physical exam or some pictures, it is going to be hard to offer you any specific advice regarding your issue. If you are 7 months out from a reconstruction and are having onset of swelling, that is something that needs to be addressed and evaluated. You should schedule an appointment with your breast surgeon, your plastic surgeon, or both to be evaluated. It could be related to your mastectomy and/or reconstruction. Sometimes this can be from lymph fluid. It could also be something such as capsular contracture. Only through an in-person exam with someone familiar with your case are you going to start to get to the bottom of the problem.Best of luck!

Sounds like a problem

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Sounds like you are pretty uncomfortable.  At 7 months out this is not typical.  If the breast is larger I would either anticipate some kind of fluid collection around the implant, and this can cause pressure and result in discomfort, or capsular contracture which can make the implant appear higher and more projecting on the chest wall and can also cause discomfort.   I would say certainly return to your plastic surgeon.  Discuss with him/her all the possibilities for what's happening including fluid, infection, capsular contracture, and other issues.  A size or position change as well as being woken from sleep generally is a good clue that something is going on. In addition, remember a mastectomy is not a small operation.  It leaves behind scarring and physiologic changes that will mature in the first year after surgery and on an ongoing basis afterward.  I frequently have patients tell me about pains that come and go, changes in sensation in the breast and chest, and an inability to "get comfortable" with the implant.  You may be experiencing some of this as well - but my bet is you have a problem.Best of Luck.

M. Renee Jespersen, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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